THE GAP YEAR
The GAP Year
Thinking of a GAP Year? Because this is an important topic, it deserves it’s own page on the website.
Thinking of a GAP Year should be more than just trying to put something together. A GAP year should challenge, inspire and give you direction. It should take you out of your comfort zone, expand your knowledge and help you grow and develop as a young adult. Remember, students who are going off to higher education are jumping right into the classroom, you you want your year off to truly provide you with challenges which take you further. Many students think they will travel to experience, but let’s be honest, traveling is in many ways superficial. While you may be able to learn something about the culture and language, you most likely are just touching the surface. You may feel proud that you could handle the challenges on your own. But think about truly taking on life developing experiences, applying your knowledge to out of the classroom experiences, learn more about yourself and develop a real sense of what you can gain from your education when you go to university.
Here are a couple of truly dynamic programs which do just that – help you grow and develop while opening your eyes to new expxeriences through education (not classroom, boring stuff) but with real opportunities to understand issues from a ground level perspective.
Thinking Beyond Borders (TBB) provides one year (Global) or one semester programs in China, Ecuador or Thailand. Working along side local NGO’s and experiences teachers, TBB expands your world view through real experiential opportunities. Living in home-stays, engaging in oriented hands-on projects, TBB is a once in a life time experience.
Dynamy offers internships opportunities to explore your interest, live on your own with other students like you, engage in community service, develop skills through job experience and workshops, or engage in College Seminars. Learning through hands-on opportunities develops the while person while giving you the perspective you need to be more successful when you enter university.
Studies have found that students who take GAP years typically graduate in four years, are more focused while in university and bring more value to the classroom than their peers who did not take a GAP year. So, if you are thinking of taking a year off, make it memorable and make it experiential.
Here are some other options:
Art History Abroad A great program that offers the study of history and culture through architecture in Italy, Paris and London. Programs are twelve to six weeks in length.
Aspire by API provides cultural programs in Argentina, France, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Programs are one year to a semester in length.
Carpe Diem International Education provides international exchange programs from 3 months to one year. With a focus on community service and experiential experiences in small group settings students are challenge to truly experience the cultural setting.
NOLS experience the outdoors with one of the great leaders in outdoor education. Students not only learn wilderness skills but also environmental ethics, and leadership. Trips range from 10 days to a full academic year.
Outward Bound with over 50 years experience in outdoor leadership over 1 million students have participated in programs offered by Outward Bound. With roots developed out of the Peace Corps in the 1960’s Outward Bound is a leader in personal development, leadership, teamwork and wilderness skills.